Sunday, October 27, 2013

why have young people in japan stopped having sex?


Guardian | Ai Aoyama is a sex and relationship counsellor who works out of her narrow three-storey home on a Tokyo back street. Her first name means "love" in Japanese, and is a keepsake from her earlier days as a professional dominatrix. Back then, about 15 years ago, she was Queen Ai, or Queen Love, and she did "all the usual things" like tying people up and dripping hot wax on their nipples. Her work today, she says, is far more challenging. Aoyama, 52, is trying to cure what Japan's media calls sekkusu shinai shokogun, or "celibacy syndrome".

Japan's under-40s appear to be losing interest in conventional relationships. Millions aren't even dating, and increasing numbers can't be bothered with sex. For their government, "celibacy syndrome" is part of a looming national catastrophe. Japan already has one of the world's lowest birth rates. Its population of 126 million, which has been shrinking for the past decade, is projected to plunge a further one-third by 2060. Aoyama believes the country is experiencing "a flight from human intimacy" – and it's partly the government's fault.

The sign outside her building says "Clinic". She greets me in yoga pants and fluffy animal slippers, cradling a Pekingese dog whom she introduces as Marilyn Monroe. In her business pamphlet, she offers up the gloriously random confidence that she visited North Korea in the 1990s and squeezed the testicles of a top army general. It doesn't say whether she was invited there specifically for that purpose, but the message to her clients is clear: she doesn't judge.

Inside, she takes me upstairs to her "relaxation room" – a bedroom with no furniture except a double futon. "It will be quiet in here," she says. Aoyama's first task with most of her clients is encouraging them "to stop apologising for their own physical existence".

The number of single people has reached a record high. A survey in 2011 found that 61% of unmarried men and 49% of women aged 18-34 were not in any kind of romantic relationship, a rise of almost 10% from five years earlier. Another study found that a third of people under 30 had never dated at all. (There are no figures for same-sex relationships.) Although there has long been a pragmatic separation of love and sex in Japan – a country mostly free of religious morals – sex fares no better. A survey earlier this year by the Japan Family Planning Association (JFPA) found that 45% of women aged 16-24 "were not interested in or despised sexual contact". More than a quarter of men felt the same way.

Many people who seek her out, says Aoyama, are deeply confused. "Some want a partner, some prefer being single, but few relate to normal love and marriage." However, the pressure to conform to Japan's anachronistic family model of salaryman husband and stay-at-home wife remains. "People don't know where to turn. They're coming to me because they think that, by wanting something different, there's something wrong with them."

Official alarmism doesn't help. Fewer babies were born here in 2012 than any year on record. (This was also the year, as the number of elderly people shoots up, that adult incontinence pants outsold baby nappies in Japan for the first time.) Kunio Kitamura, head of the JFPA, claims the demographic crisis is so serious that Japan "might eventually perish into extinction".

Japan's under-40s won't go forth and multiply out of duty, as postwar generations did. The country is undergoing major social transition after 20 years of economic stagnation. It is also battling against the effects on its already nuclear-destruction-scarred psyche of 2011's earthquake, tsunami and radioactive meltdown. There is no going back. "Both men and women say to me they don't see the point of love. They don't believe it can lead anywhere," says Aoyama. "Relationships have become too hard." Fist tap Dale.

11 comments:

Vic78 said...

Looks like they could be the masturbation capital of the world. People are getting off one way or the other.

Nakajima Kikka said...

A major part of the problem is the punishing work demands Japanese companies impose on their staffs, especially the men. It leaves very little free time for dating and romantic relationships. For the salarymen of two generations ago, the lack of free time didn't matter so much because the system of arranging marriages was still alive and well, and so a lot of their marriages were arranged. It's different now. Only about 10% of marriages are arranged; most people have to find their own marriage partners, and that requires free time.

You also have to know something about how to date for the purpose of finding a spouse. This is a skill that a LOT of Japanese are still in the process of learning how to do (another consequence of the old arranged marriage system).

In light of that, this is an interesting trend: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPhr6N-c8as

These are pure fantasy "dates", of course, but even so, the popularity of this tread suggests that what Japanese women want is to be wooed in the more classical sense of the term...maybe Japanese guys should be required to spend a year working as a host, so as to become intimately familiar with the process one needs to use to achieve sex and marriage.

Vic78 said...

Looks like someone needs to open a player school in Japan. All the guys in Memphis that think they're pimps have opportunity.

CNu said...

I'm going to go with fertile grounds for roman catholicism and good parochial schools!!! I'll send a lay missive to Pope Francis and let him know that Japan is ripe for the good works of promoting the reproductive success of guys with no game.

Dale Asberry said...

Lol, Memphis is where I got schooled in Game. I suppose I had a good liminal understanding, but until I hooked up with the Memphis group I was sorely lacking in practical skill. We went out multiple times a week to work on cold approaches using the numerous methods, winging, post-event critiquing, and overall just having fun. That group has scattered all over now but we were never "pimps". Just a bunch of geeks that knew we were lied to by the prevailing narrative. One of the guys did go to Japan and indicated to the rest of the group that Japanese women were seriously underserved by these clueless Japanese men. Part of the reason why this article was no surprise to me.

Vic78 said...

Do you know Japanese? If you do, you might want to take a trip to Tokyo. You can call the school Player U.

Nakajima Kikka said...

I do. And the thought has occurred to me. There's a real business opportunity there. Something fairly light-hearted and fun, but would get under-40 men and women to actually talk to each other, not past each other, while they're learning how to flirt and hold a "non-shop talk" conversation with someone of the opposite sex in a social setting.

Nakajima Kikka said...

About 0.5% of the population is Roman Catholic. Hmmm. Whether social life among Catholics runs counter to this trend or not, I don't know. It's an interesting question, though. In what is an extremely secular country, Catholics are pretty much the only religious group who takes their religion at all seriously. If anyone is having success at countering the trend, it would be them.

Nakajima Kikka said...

"Underserved" is not an unfair observation. As I said, I think that the combination of punishing work schedules (which often includes all-but-mandatory attendance at after-work drinking parties with the boss) and the breakdown of the old arranged marriage system are the major drivers behind this. Opportunities for escape into sophisticated virtual fantasy worlds accelerates the process. "Mendoukusai" ("it's just a hassle/too troublesome") is something you normally use to describe something like sorting your trash into the different categories before pick-up. Using it to describe romantic relationships is very disturbing.

Vic78 said...

You mean like a night club? I'm just messing around with that one. As long as you can keep some American clowns away you could have something good going. Somebody has to tell some of them to chill on the Hentai.

CNu said...

In the not-too-distant, we're going to have a bit of conversation about the Laws of Manu, the ideal of arranged marriage, the esotericism of romance and courtly love (known by some as the 5th Way) and the moral and psychological abomination of so called neurolinguistic programming.

Leaving Labels Aside For A Moment - Netanyahu's Reality Is A Moral Abomination

This video will be watched in schools and Universities for generations to come, when people will ask the question: did we know what was real...